Duncan Paterson and his masterpiece
ITSAZOO’s next production is Bildungsroman by Duncan Paterson at the Fringe Festival, a show that we are co-producing with Slam Ink. Below is an interview with Duncan Paterson about his Fringey work of art.
Having only just discovered that holding a plugged-in beard trimmer near your script isn’t an effective way to “create a buzz around your show,” the writer/co-star of ITSAZOO’s co-production with Slam Ink, Duncan Paterson decided to sit down with himself for an interview. Below is what he had to ask himself and how he answered his own questions.
Q: So, you wrote a show called “Bildungsroman,” and cast yourself as two of the four characters in it. What’s that all about?
A: Well, the show’s about a dude named Herb who’s trying to write a book but his buddy Cole comes over because he wants Herb to come out drinking with him. Herb pretends not be home, but Cole sees through the ruse, gets inside the apartment, tricks Herb into eating a magic mushroom-laced pizza slice and then the play goes in a pretty predictable direction with a police interrogation, a heart-to-heart with Superman and some philosophy about ancient civilizations and pears.
Q: When I said “What’s that all about?” I was sort of judging you as a megalomaniac. Do you think you’re a megalomaniac?
A: I didn’t think I thought I was a megalomaniac, but then you/me brought up the possibility of us being a megalomaniac, so now I’m not sure. However, if I was a megalomaniac I don’t think I’d be thinking about whether or not I was a megalomaniac, so I’ll just answer: 50/50.
Q: Everything in life’s one-out-of-two, way to go out on a limb there. Did you just link up with ITSAZOO because they’re a well-established theatre company here in Vancouver and they’ve got a pretty solid following and built-in audience?
A: Well, it can be tough being the new kid on the block sometimes. Except if you were one of The New Kids on the Block, they all made millions from that. But it would have been pretty impossible for Slam Ink to stage the show on its own right now because the lottery’s so tough to win.
Q: So, yes?
A: No, I count the Zoo Crew as close friends and, considering the history of the script, it wouldn’t have felt right going forward with a remount without their involvement.
Q: You should probably go on about the history of the script now or this interview will be a terrible. . .
A: Like it wasn’t already? Okay. . .not funny. Well, I came up with the original idea one summer when I was sub-letting the basement of the townhouse Chelsea was renting and I’d kidded myself into believing I was going to get a bunch of projects out of the way for my Writing classes that were coming up in the fall. So, I’d lock myself down there with my dog, and the no windows, and just try really hard to put some words down. But I discovered it’s pretty impossible to find inspiration or a “new idea” when you’re not doing anything and you know there’s beer and barbecue out there in the world to be enjoyed. So that’s kind of how the idea behind the play originated. That it was going to be about a writer who was trying to do something really big but under circumstances that would make it impossible. Then Colby and I would hang out and I’d type out parts of the conversations we’d had or I’d have a weird idea and try to make it work and somehow the weird scrapbook I’d pasted together got into F.I.N.D. at the Phoenix that year (which was either ’05 or ’06)and Chelsea and Colby chose to be involved with the project there.
Q: So, this is basically a play about you and Colby, starring you and Colby. Why would people who know you and Colby pay to watch what they’ve seen for free and why would someone who doesn’t know you two want to?
A: Because it’s not as if it’s a documentary onstage. Colby isn’t Cole at all (despite the name similarity). He does and says things Colby never would and seems to only have one friend, whereas Colby has 48 followers on Twitter. The only way I could be confused with Herb is if I really liked the movie Garden State (and its soundtrack a lot) and read and understood poetry and literary criticism. If we were better at memorizing lines, we could probably do that gimmicky thing where the actors switch roles every night.
Q: Great answers.
A: Great questions.